|Homestay Tam Nhung (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Vang Pheo hamlet which is home to the White Thai ethnic group is one of 11 popular tourism villages in Lai Chau province.
After learning to cook traditional Thai dishes from her mother-in-law Lo Thi Doi, Nhung and her sister-in-law Tam decided to start up a tourism business. They first opened a restaurant, but soon later expanded their business and turned it into Homestay Tam Nhung, which provides both accommodation and tourism service. It was the first homestay in Vang Pheo hamlet, said Nhung.
Nhung recalled, “I started my business in 2019 with a desire to preserve the traditional culture and cuisine of the Thai ethnic group. With 8 rooms accommodating up to 40 people, Homestay Tam Nhung offers guests Thai dishes and experiences with Xoe dancing of the Thai people and the Sap dancing of the Muong people. Guests can catch fish themselves and collect river moss, a special freshwater version of kelp, to cook with our staff. They can also try the hair washing ritual of Thai ethnic people which is often held on the last day of the Lunar New Year to pray for good luck and good health.”
The peak season for welcoming visitors is from the 10th lunar month to the 1st lunar month, Nhung said, adding that their foreign tourists come mainly from Italy and Japan. They book tours via Zalo and Facebook.
“A package that includes meals and accommodation is about 11 USD per person per day,” said Nhung.
| An art performance at Homestay Tam Nhung (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Tam and Nhung’s homestay model is a response to a program of Lai Chau province which encourages local women to start up their own business.
Mai Thi Hong Sim, Vice Chairwoman of Phong Tho district’s People's Committee, said the local administration encourages ethnic women to start tourism businesses.
According to Sim, “The current homestay model is being replicated across Phong Tho district. Local people received strong support from the district government to develop their household economy and create jobs for women in Phong Tho.”
This business has increased the income of local women, reduced hunger and poverty, and promoted gender equality, said Sim, adding, “In addition, the homestay model has helped preserve local cultural identity and typical architecture of ethnic groups in the region.”
Homestay Tam Nhung gives four local women a stable income of 21 dollars a day when the homestay is busy and 13 dollars on an average day.
|Traditional dishes served at Homestay Tam Nhung (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Last year, the homestay began piloting weaving and souvenir making as part of the experience for the guests. Both Tam and Nhung want to open a souvenir shop to diversify their business. Tam said the homestay model has been successfully replicated in the village.
Tam told VOV that five households in the village offer homestay services, and they work closely with each other.
“In the near future, we plan to develop a Tam Nhung cooperative. My homestay has 3 products recognized by the provincial People's Committee as meeting the 3-star OCOP standards: Tam Nhung dried pork, Tam Nhung pork sausage, and Tam Nhung smoked pork. Guests at my homestay enjoy the scenery, the cool weather, the delicious local food, and the traditional dances,” said Tam.
Homestay Tam Nhung has opened two branches in Vang Pheo hamlet. One offers accommodation and meals. The other is a cafe. Tam and Nhung are planning to open another restaurant in Lai Chau city.